It’s something that anyone can do.
Forget the LBD, there’s a new tool in your flirting arsenal: your voice. Research shows that women can manipulate their speech to sound even more attractive, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior.
Researchers at Albright College asked 40 college students (20 men and 20 women) to say numbers one through 10 in their normal speaking voice, then repeat them while manipulating their voice to sound more attractive (after that, they were also asked to adopt a tone that was more confident, more dominant, and more intelligent). Another set of 40 college students (20 men and 20 women) listened to all of the recordings and rated them for each of the traits. It turns out, women didn’t think men sounded any more attractive when they were trying to be, but the opposite was true for women. Why? Women trying to sound more attractive chose to slow their speech, lower their pitch, and increase their hoarseness, which made men perceive them as more attractive than they did when the women were speaking normally (think Scarlett Johahnsson’s vocal sexiness). When women actively made their voices sultrier, raters gave them an average attractiveness rating of 4.29 on a scale of 1-7, while their normal voices earned them an average score of 3.45.
So why is your voice so important when it comes to sex appeal? Researchers say that our ability to alter our voices (and our ability to pick up on subtle differences in others’ voices) is the result of evolutionary changes; basically, voices can predict biological factors that make someone a good mate, like body shape and age, so we’re wired to be more attracted to some than others.
Obviously, attractiveness goes way beyond the way you speak, so don’t get too wrapped up in your vocal pitch or how quickly you’re talking. After all, your date will probably care more about what you’re saying than how you say it. But hey, we can’t help but be a little proud of our gender for being way better at “sexy voice.”
By Kate Moriarty